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Xi'an banking on SAR's status in B&R push

By Oswald Chan in Hong Kong | HK Edition | Updated: 2017-11-15 07:06
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Against the backdrop of the China-led Belt and Road Initiative, Xi'an - capital city of Shaanxi province - should leverage Hong Kong's "super-connector" status to expand broader cooperation potential between them, Xi'an's mayor Shangguan Jiqing reckoned.

"As the country forges ahead with the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi'an will fortify its competitive edges in the high technology sector, advanced manufacturing and modern services. We'll also promote Xi'an as the global hub for hardware technology," he said in a press interview in Hong Kong.

A trade and investment promotion delegation from the northwestern province is in the SAR, showcasing more than 400 projects covering 17 industries. The visit is in conjunction with the Shaanxi-Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Economic Cooperation Week, which kicked off in the city this week.

Unveiled by President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative embraces more than 60 countries across Asia, Europe and Africa, accounting for 30 percent of the world's gross domestic product.

Shangguan noted that Hong Kong is currently Xi'an's largest source of overseas direct investment, followed by the United States, South Korea and Singapore.

According to Xi'an Municipal People's Government data, there are now 1,382 overseas direct investment projects in Xi'an, with Hong Kong accounting for nearly 40 percent of them. The SAR also accounts for 51.8 percent of total contracted investments amounting to $13.23 billion. The scope of investment by Hong Kong's business sector in Xi'an spans manufacturing, real estate, finance, and modern services.

Hong Kong enterprises have offered development capital and advanced management concepts that have greatly enhanced Xi'an's links with the outside world and elevated its internationalization level.

"Xi'an needs Hong Kong's business connections, capital and experience in handling business projects to propel its development. We need to leverage Hong Kong's 'super-connector' status," Shangguan said. "This will also give Hong Kong businessmen more space and opportunities for development."

"With the Belt and Road Initiative in mind, Xi'an and Hong Kong should have broader cooperation potential, particularly in new technologies, advanced manufacturing, modern services, culture and tourism, as well as external trade," the mayor said.

Xi'an is a major functional area located within the China (Shaanxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone - one of the country's 11 pilot free trade zones.

In the first three quarters of this year, the provincial capital saw its import and export value surge 36.8 percent year-on-year to 183.7 billion yuan ($27.7 billion), accounting for 93.9 percent of Shaanxi's total import and export value, according to the website of the People's Government of Shaanxi Province.

"We will push forward the development of the pilot free trade zone in the fields of investment management, trade services, finance sector opening, regulation and legal protection, thus facilitating financing, trade, logistics and service regulation," Shangguan said.


As Hong Kong hosts a trade and investment delegation from northwestern Shaanxi province, the Seventh Shaanxi-Guangdong-Hong Kong- Macao Economic Cooperation Week kicked o in the SAR this week, with contracts for 12 new projects signed. Provided to China Daily

(HK Edition 11/15/2017 page17)

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